The reason I haven’t continued this series? Besides innate laziness, every time I start this entry, I do the digital version of tearing up the paper and throwing it away. Whatever I say about Dionysos isn’t nearly enough and there’s too much of him to express.
So instead, I’m going to tell a story. I became a Hellenic Pagan somewhere in my freshman/sophomore year of college (It gets a little hazy because it was a transitory period between generic neopaganism and thinking I should be a strict Recon) and I started a very fledging relationship with Dionysos. It was pretty tame and mostly on my end and a little academic. I read a lot, and being in college where I was constantly taking classes that dealt with Classical Studies or mythology or being a pretentious twit (I have an English Studies degree after all!) I had my analytical thinking hat on pretty tight.
One night in my apartment, and even whether it was junior or senior year is pretty hazy, that relationship changed. I sometimes joke about my love of baths and how I can sleep in them without drowning. This time however, I had put down whatever I had been reading and I hovered on liminality, meditating, I suppose, and I tranced out.
It was the first time that happened, and it doesn’t happen often since, but what I remember clearly is Dionysos’s presence coming briefly into the space and — you know the quote that end with “to touch the face of the gods?” — that exactly. It was overwhelming and euphoric.
I leapt out of the tub, so dazed, grinning ear to ear and just a little shocked, and I still wonder how I remembered not to run naked in the hall. The academic became the real and I knew at that moment that my side of the relationship was honored and deepened into a much bigger patron relationship.
But you know what happens when you aren’t quite ready for an experience like that? 10 minutes of euphoria, hours of sheer terror and depression. I honestly thought for a moment that I’d broken into rapid cycle bi-polar or something, thankful that I never cycled like that. I’ll take my irrationality in spiritual form, thank you.
I’ve tried for years to put into work Dionysos because of that moment, and the best that I can say is, truly, Dionysos is the god who comes!
I’ve had a few similar experiences in the years since, most when trying to trance out, thankfully, and so I’m more prepared for the fallout. Dionysos is a god that breaks down your barriers and loosens your limitations and sometimes that isn’t pretty. I believe that my bathtub experience was needed, even if it was painful and terrifying to get words into action.